What Is So Great About Castellos

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alaskanpiper

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May 23, 2019
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I was being sarcastic george. But in all seriousness, I do admire your clear passion for detail. Sometimes there is as much beauty in a seamless skyscraper as there is in a jackson pollock painting. And I can totally see how someone with experience crafting them would be hypersensitive to the difference. I think a lot of us just fall somewhere in between, especially if it smokes well, which seems to be the reason most people admire Castello. It is certainly the reason I do, my liking of their (however misaligned) shaping is just an added bonus.
They do make a few ugly pipes though, but everybody does. How anyone could ever look at a bulldog or an Oom Paul without puking for the rest of their life is beyond me, regardless of maker (but especially brebbia). But to each their own, as they say.
Put some mclelland 40th anniversary in it and I’ll smoke it out of a light bulb.

 

georged

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Mar 7, 2013
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Alaskadude --- your sarcasm was received loud and clear. :lol: Good stuff.
Also, to the board in general: Jesse and I are friends and enjoy this sort of sparring from time to time. Please don't take it as anything more than that.

 

alaskanpiper

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May 23, 2019
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I figured as much. I just like watching the masters throw down. Inserting my own commentary makes me fee like im a part of it. In addition, being on the most west of coasts, its not even 11 here, and this is all thats happening on the whole forum, haha.

 

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sablebrush52

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Jun 15, 2013
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Referring to laziness, a mistake, or a lack of skill as a "different esthetic" is a charitable stretch, I think.
Sorry, but I disagree. And to be honest, I couldn't give two hoots about what other carvers have to say about it. For me, it works just fine. The angularity within the contour is consistent throughout the profile. I don't mind dissonance and can enjoy it just as much as consonance. Perfection is often boring.
With every show I've worked on, over two hundred and counting, I've either had to adapt to, or create, a different esthetic, a different style. If I couldn't do that, I'd have had a pretty limited career. And I didn't like every style I had to do. But I don't have to like it, I just have to understand it. It's like when someone looks at a Jackson Pollack drip painting and says anyone could do that. They don't understand what they're looking at, and they don't have a snowball's chance in hell of reproducing what he did.

 

georged

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Mar 7, 2013
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Pretty weak sauce, there....
The line error is EXACTLY what a beginner would "reproduce". Your Pollack example isn't an analogous situation at all.
Your turn.
:rofl:

 

georged

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Mar 7, 2013
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No overlaid lines necessary here (I hope).
I believe the appropriate comment using today's Social Media parlance is: srsly?
8O
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sablebrush52

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My sauce is strong, George, Clio, Emmy, and Oscar winning strong. Italian pipe shapes march to the beat of a different drummer. They're not restricted to any sort of orthodoxy. The French and later, the Brits, made shapes that followed fairly strict harmonious proportions, creating what is often referred to as the classical canon. Danish pipes took an organic spin on those shapes, softening that classical rigor while pursuing harmonious curves. Italians couldn't care less about maintaining an inevitable purity. Not that they can't produce it, they're just not tight assed about it. When I look at Italian pipe makers' sites, I see some pretty strange and sometimes awkward looking stuff that I find fascinating.
You see it as a line error. I don't.
Ball's in your court. :puffy:

 

georged

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Mar 7, 2013
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Not that they can't produce it, they're just not tight assed about it.
Did you just imply that my ass was tight, Mr. Bard?
Normally I'd dismiss such implicative impetuousness, but you being from California and all (BDB, no less)... well...
Hm.
I still think that shaping "creativity" which---by total and complete coincidence, understand---looks EXACTLY like laziness and/or a lack of ability, is most likely that.
And such "creativity" translating into more units produced per hour is also not a coincidence.
Since you have impeccable taste when it comes to the details of Barlings I'm now wondering if this Castello business isn't some sort of aspirational love affair, given that those Pigeon Eye pipes cost a billion dollars. Willful self delusion being such a powerful drug, and all.
Or maybe it's just too long living under Governor Moonbeam has eroded your standards? Peace and Love are powerful drugs, too.
Maybe Matt G. will weigh in. He knows your moods quite well and lives in New Joisey. No one messes around in Joisey.

 

sablebrush52

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Governor Moonbeam could balance a budget, which is more than can be said of those clots in Washington DC.
Come to Vegas and I'll bring the pipe. You can dissect its flaws and I'll bring some great tobacco. I absolutely love the classical purity of well carved Brit wood and as you and I have discussed privately a pretty good eye for the fine details. But this isn't a British pipe, nor one that has aspirations of being shaped like one. Castellos have some much loved clunky angular shapes. That's what they does, and I have no problem with it.

 

paulie66scandinavian

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Jul 28, 2016
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@Georged,I do wholeheartedly agree with Your statement here and real admire Your clear passion for detail, I'm the same way, stubbornly thinking that any item with a high price tag on it should be performed flawlessly be it footwear, garment or pipe

the older I get the pickier I'm becoming in this regard, Bringing my apologies already,I don't know why but it seems that flaws done in the manufacturing process are omnipresent and increasing everywhere regardless of what price the item is,

Ps, as for shaping, recall that very stem repair and on how it was performed)

 

philobeddoe

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Oct 31, 2011
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East Indiana
Jesse, I think your pipe looks lovely.
George, does Castello follow the official “ According to Hoyle” pipe shape chart....no, but that’s kind of the point now isn’t it. Not everyone wants the same damn thing, Castello and several other Italian brands have always had a looser idea of form and shape. There are many ways to achieve beauty in briar, not all of them are as rigid and cookie cutter as the classic British shape chart and being so well versed in pipe making, you should recognize that.

 

workman

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Jan 5, 2018
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What the carver has done with the faulty lines on Jesse's Castello is give the impression of a shank that flows two ways at the same time. The bend is downwards, but the seemingly sloppy shaping gives it a slight upwards turn at the beginning. It's very pleasing to my eye and the strong chin at the bottom of the bowl perfects it. I think 55's are ugly. This one is pretty.

 

oldgeezersmoker

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Oct 7, 2016
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One of the best Occhios I have seen in a while. That there are technicians who find fault with the shaping is not a surprise.

 

jpmcwjr

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May 12, 2015
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Carmel Valley, CA
That's not a 55, though is it? (Jesse's pipe). I looked up occhio di pernice and came up with this beauty:

Yes, I know I could have refined the search, but was amused by the images of ugly and troubled feet.

 

sablebrush52

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Jun 15, 2013
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Also, be very careful about making assumptions regarding shaping frOm a non orthographic view. In any event, if the carver's mission was to pull every last possible bit of birdseye from the block, he did so admirably.
An earlier post asked about the nomenclature: Occhio di Pernice, 60 in the castle, CASTELLO COLLECTION, KKK encased in an oval, Carlo Scotti, US, Kino in an oval,"MADE IN CANTU" over "ITALY". On the stem "hand made" over "Castello".
And, thank you all for your kind words regarding this poor, maligned, pipe.

 

pipingfool

New member
Sep 29, 2016
23
4
Over the years I've collected pipes from several different makers and countries. I first became infatuated with old Charatan's for a while, but soon figured out that they didn't fit my aesthetic or my smoking style. I sold all but two (one because it has a really bad replacement stem and the other because it is one that I really enjoy). Then I started collecting GBDs because they had a wide array of shapes and sizes, but a good number of them ended up being not great smokers for me. Again, I sold off all except one and it's because it has a replacement stem, but it is a great smoker nonetheless, so I will probably keep it.
Then I was all about Ascorti/Caminetto brands. Had several and they were great smokers, but they were a bit heavy and I found myself not reaching for them as often. So, to the auction block they went.
Then I decided that I would use my newfound pipe budget and purchase a couple of Castellos. I always wanted one and had heard mostly rave review about them. Found a shop (Tabaccheria Corti) in Italy and the owner, Luca, said that he would talk to the Castello shop and have the pipes that I wanted made for me. Two weeks later, I had the pipes in hand. I got a Shape 19 Sea Rock KKKK that to me perfectly combines elegant and masculine aesthetics. It has a polished wavy rim and a slight, almost hawkbill, curve to the shank and stem and a firm heel. It is an amazing smoker and one I reach for often. The other is a Shape 55 Vergin Natural KKKK. This pipe has its eccentricities. The chamber is drilled just a fraction of a millimeter off-center. I actually didn't notice it at first, but a friend of mine with a slight case of OCD noticed it and of course once seen, it can't be unseen. But the draft hole was drilled spot on and the pipe smokes like a dream. So I didn't care.
Why tell you all of this? About 9 months after I bought them, the Shape 55 ended up having a soft spot around the draft hole and started the beginnings of a burnout. I took pictures and sent them to Luca who sent them to Franco at Castello. Within 20mins, he sent me a message saying the he and Franco would send me a new pipe of equal value. I just had to pick the one that I wanted from his website. They also told me to keep the Shape 55 and enjoy it as much as I could because they did not want me to incur the shipping cost of sending it back. My replacement pipe and another brand new pipe arrive today.
This is why I like Castellos and Luca. When I purchase from them, not only do I get a high-quality pipe (yes, there may be some quirks, but both of my Castellos are great smokers and I have no doubt that the two new ones will be as well), but if for some reason there is an issue, then I am dealing with the actual people that stamp their name on the pipe.
The amount that I spend on a Castello from Luca is not that much more (and sometimes cheaper) than buying a semi-high grade Savinelli (I have a few of those, too, and I like them), but I know that I'm getting well-aged briar, an aesthetic that I like and the reassurance that if there ever is an issue, I'm only two degrees away from the man who owns the company.
There are several Castello shapes that baffle me (the weird Cherrywood/Oom Paul full bent shape comes to mind), and there is no such thing as the perfect pipe. But the first few bowls of a Castello have a taste that I just love and the following bowls are consistently good for my tastes and smoking style.
Yes, I like other makers (I currently have several Radices and I am very fond of them) and will continue to look for other brands that fit my tastes and style, but Castellos will probably make up the majority of my rotation in the future.
Just my opinion, of course, and I won't even attempt to get into the Sablebrush and GeorgeD debate as I am a relative newbie compared to them. But for my money (and I'm the only one that can have a relevant opinion on that; well, besides my wife), I would spend $220 on a new Sea Rock any day of the week over just about any other brand.
But that Birdseye, though....whew!

 

p40warhawk

Member
Jul 18, 2019
107
15
Castello's belongs IMHO with all the subjective questions. A Castello Pipe is a fine smoking Pipe, but I've had dear friends who owned Pipe/tobacco shops for many years who thought they were fine pipes, but over priced. I'm not wise or experienced enough to know. I do know that for a pipe to work, you need a flame, maybe some briar (??) and a fine tobacco of your choice. I have many of the brands; my question is the same for all, why do many of us, with many, many pipes have THAT ONE PIPE that just seems to smoke better than any other?! As for me, I have a Peterson Baskerville FT that just seems to smoke better than any Castello or Dunhill I may have. Heck for some, it could be a meerschaum or heaven help us, a good corn cobb.

Catello makes a fine Pipe, is it worth $500++, I guess it depends on your checking account?

Thanks!

 

paulie66scandinavian

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Jul 28, 2016
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@p40warHawk, allow me to bring to Your knowledge, here in Eu region Castello Brand pipes sell considerably cheaper than in U.S

so from this point of view, I'd think to this very moment these pipes are not that much overpriced in europe,though I can't say they are cheap or even affordable but good value for bucks

 

lukasstrifeson

Preferred Member
Jun 23, 2019
828
4,988
Gotta agree with @Paul here. The price difference between Castellos state-side vs Europe is crazy.

I got the Natural Vergin in the back (in an "estate" condition) from a US shop was about $40 cheaper than the new Sea Rock in the foreground.

 

jfred

Member
Apr 30, 2018
118
5
@lukasstrifeson; that's a great looking pair! I have the same shape in a fume top sea rock finish. A wonderful smoker.

 

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